Touareg Tea - Morocco's Favorite Beverage
Monica Munteanu | On 09, Dec 2013
What is the easiest way to discover something about a new country and learn the core of its people? Well, start with its tea habits! Almost every nation has its own ceremonies and customs when it comes to drinking tea and we love discovering that.
The Moroccans have branded their tea and it’s known all around the world as Touareg, or simply “mint tea”. However, it’s not the mint brew that we are all used to, so let’s find out what makes it so special and why other countries have adopted the Moroccan recipe. Enjoy an incursion into the wonderful life of Morocco’s social tea practice.
About Touareg tea
The flavored Touareg is also known as Moroccan mint tea and it’s a social binder in the Maghreb countries. Although it is custom to Arab and Muslim countries, it has also become a popular choice in other states of western civilization, such as France, Spain and Portugal.
The essential ingredient of Touareg tea is Mentha spicata or the ‘Nana’ mint originating in Morocco, that has a tangy but mild aroma. Along the fresh mint leaves, a strong green tea, such as the Chinese gunpowder, is usually used for preparing this beverage.
The tea is commonly served very hot and sweet, being popular mainly as a dessert tea. However, thanks to its fruity note, it complements nicely a wider variety of foods, and can be consumed with recipes made of lamb, peas or with fruit salads.
Tea drinking is more than just a custom in Morocco, it is also a tool used in sales and commerce. If you find yourself in a Morrocan or Egiptian market, don’t be surprised if you are sat down and offered a glass of mint tea by the vendor who is trying to sell you a carpet. It is also good to keep in mind that it is impolite to refuse or start negotiating the price during the serving.
Preparation and serving
Touareg is the key ingredient to social gathering in the Maghreb countries. Although in these regions cooking is considered women’s business, the tea is prepared by the head of the family and offered to guests in at least three servings.
The preparation process is a complex, but intense ritual that really connects you to the spirit of the tea. Here’s how it goes:
- Gunpowder green tea
- Fresh mint leaves
- Boiled water
- Metal teapot and small glasses for serving
First add the gunpowder into the metal teapot. Wash it out for about 20 to 30 seconds with boiled water, then pour the water out and save it for later.
Clean the tea with boiling water for a minute and pour it out just like before. This process should be repeated a couple of times, because it decreases the bitterness of the tea.
After it is cleaned, add the first water, the one used in the first cleansing, along with sugar, some mint leaves and more boiled water. Put the metal pot on fire and let it boil for a while, as this will increase the aroma of the tea. Then, allow it to cool down for three to five minutes and pour the beverage in three glasses; empty them back into the pot, in order to spread the flavor equally.
Now you can enjoy the tea, with or without sugar, depending on your taste. For a final touch, add some fresh mint leaves to your glass and pour the tea on top of them from a distance.
Benefits of Touareg mint tea
Why should you try Touareg tea? Not only you’ll take part in an exotic ritual, but you’ll also enjoy the numerous health benefits of this delicious beverage. Here’s what the Moroccan tea is good for:
1. It is one of the best herbs aiding the digestive system: it relaxes the stomach muscles and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices.
2. It has cleansing properties, aiding your system in getting rid of bad bacteria.
3. It’s relaxing and calming for you mind as well, reducing anxiety and tension.
4. A study showed peppermint tea helped drivers stay more alert and relaxed in traffic.
5. The aroma can help relieve symptoms of headaches and colds.
Touareg is definitely an experience for tea lovers to try out, especially great in this time of the year thanks to its refreshing, minty aroma. Follow the Moroccan hospitality habits and invite friends over for a mint tea party! Since you already learned something new about this country and the core of these people, you’ll surely be able to fascinate your guests with an interesting Moroccan-flavored story!